King County Executive Dow Constantine announced on Oct. 14 that a homeless shelter in SODO will no longer be expanded as previously planned. The county will instead maintain the existing shelter at the location and funds for the expansion will instead go toward investments to shelter people faster.
Bordering the Chinatown-International District (CID), the hub would have been an addition to the Salvation Army SODO Shelter, and at least 15 homeless shelters already within walking distance.
Since the siting of the Navigation Center in 2017, and the concentration of other shelters around the CID, the quality of life, vitality, and public safety of the neighborhood have deteriorated significantly.
CID residents and community leaders have been vocal and actively protesting—frustrated at being left out of the conversation around the proposed expansion, as well as concerns with public safety and crime.
“Over the past six weeks, community members have shared their feedback about the current state of public safety and other concerns in the Chinatown-International District and surrounding neighborhoods,” Constantine said in a news release. “It is clear that building trust and resolving underlying concerns about the conditions in the community today will take considerable time before we can move forward with any added service capacity.”
What a refreshing change to have our voices heard. And a glimmer of hope. Could it be that decades of discrimination against our community could actually come to an end?
And what a testament to the power of community organizing and uniting! We truly can move mountains when we come together and pool resources to achieve a common goal.
Let this be a reminder that we are stronger together, not divided. We must continue to speak up against injustices. We must keep fighting for what we want, and ask for help when we need it. There is power in numbers and this latest development just proves that we are indeed mighty.
This is a great first step, but let’s not be complacent. We must continue to keep elected officials accountable. We must not fear “rocking the boat” and to fight for what is right. Stay focused on the common goal—to end the cycle of harm once and for all, on the CID.